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So what about my office?

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Today at Ning I promised Marc Andreessen that I’d blog this story on the subject of stopping by my house…

Every fall, my kids sell popcorn as a Cub Scout fundraiser. In addition to the door-to-door sales, they have an ecommerce site and that site had my home address on it.

One evening around 8pm I answered a knock at the door and found some guy asking for my kids. That was just plain creepy. He’d seent he popcorn site, lived a few blocks from my house, and didn’t want to place an order online. So he brought over a check. The address came off the site immediately.

Obviously this has some differences to people stopping by Ning or almost any other office. My family is at my house and my kids are often playing outside. Random people tracking me down has a little different context than someone stopping by an actual office. Marc doesn’t encourage people to come by his house, and I wouldn’t expect him to.

Marc suggested stopping by my house at 3am. If I were to stop by Ning’s office in the middle of the night, it’s not likely that people would be there, and if they were, they wouldn’t be sleeping. (Although tonight Ning’s rolling out their app updates from 9pm until 3am. Not sleeping, though.)

Sure, it’s a little odd to have a customer show up at your office unannounced, but I think it should be embraced, not discouraged. Showing up at your house unannounced is a different matter, even if that’s where you work. If I were in an actual office, the address would be public and I’d welcome visitors.

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